Book 1: The Aether Chronicles series
Book provided by NetGalley and Flux Books
Release date: August 8, 2012
Sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock’s hoyden ways land her in an abusive reform school far from home. On mid-summer’s eve she wishes to be anyplace but that dreadful school. A mysterious man from the Realm of Faerie rescues her and brings her to the Otherworld, only to reveal that she must be sacrificed, otherwise, the entire Otherworld civilization will perish.
AH’s Review – 2 Skulls – D
What a promising start to a debut novel. I was transported back in time to the turn of the 20th century Los Angeles, a place where hover boards and zeppelins fly in the sky. Our heroine, a “sparky” girl named Noli repairs cars and other gadgets. Noli takes her best friend V (Steven) on a joyride in her lovingly restored flying car. Of course, the ride or rather the flight, did not end well and Noli and V crash land in her backyard. Noli is detained for flying without the proper license. She is forced to attend the Finlay School in San Francisco where her outrageous behavior is to be corrected and beaten out of her.
I really, really enjoyed the first few chapters of this book. The steampunk elements were imaginative and nicely done. I liked Noli at this point and her friendship with V was refreshing. Then as Noli is enrolled at the Finlay House, the story began to deteriorate for me.
I can’t imagine a loving mother allowing her daughter to be placed in such a school. Finlay House was frightening – the methods used to “train” the girls were barbaric. Finlay House turned out vapid, opinionless girls who were beaten into submission and isolated from their families and friends. Noli is at Finlay House for a short period of time and plot out an escape with her friend Charlotte. Unfortunately, Charlotte is removed from the home before she could escape.
Kevighn Silver-Tongue was on a mission for the fae queen. Once every seven years, a “sparky” human is taken into the fae realm and sacrificed to keep the fae realms in existence. Kevighn’s last attempt at procuring the sacrifice failed and the fae realms are suffering. Kevighn manages to “capture” Noli and transport her to the fae Otherworld as the sacrifice. Surprisingly enough, the magic does not bind to Noli because she wears an amulet given to her by V as a good luck charm. Noli lives under the radar with Kevighn as he imagines the possibility of a life with her. Meanwhile V and his brother James look for Noli and follow her trail to the Otherworld.
I had several problems with this book. I understand that I read a galley, an uncorrected proof, but my copy had too many spelling and grammar errors. I usually overlook these errors in galleys but I had to re-read several passages to make sure I understood correctly. I hope that these errors are corrected on the final copy.
I felt like this book was trying to do too much. Steampunk, a reform school, the fae realms – maybe if the book had concentrated on one or two elements it would have been more successful.
I also found it strange that the fae queen would have clockwork pets. A little odd since technology doesn’t work well in the fae realm.
I did like Noli’s “sparkiness” and her affinity for things of the earth and the land. That was a nice touch. The dream sequences were fun to read too. I found Noli a little too uptight
It was hard for me to rate this book. I really liked the beginning of the book but the remainder was slow paced for me. Perhaps others may enjoy the book more than I did.
Thank you to NetGalley and Flux Books for a review copy of this book.
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